Scam artists hitting North Dakota, AG says

Bryan Cohen May 1, 2012, 2:29pm


BISMARCK, N.D. (Legal Newsline) - North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem warned consumers about a fake check scam on Thursday in which scam artists use checks to defraud consumers that are supposedly from a North Dakota government agency.

Stenehjem's office has received reports that the scam artists tell the recipients to deposit the fake government check and wire a particular amount of money to a third party.

The checks are phony N.D. Housing Finance Agency checks. Several years ago, scam artists used checks that claimed to be from the state lottery and treasurer's office.

"Fortunately, there have not been any victims so far," Stenehjem said. "I remind North Dakotans that no legitimate government official will ever instruct you to deposit a check and then wire money somewhere else. Regardless of the reason given, if that's what you are told to do, then it's a scam."

Because there are multiple variations on the fake wire/check schemes, it is difficult to warn people about each one.

"As consumers become more skeptical about mystery shopper offers, phony international lottery wins, and other variations of this scam, the conmen have to raise the bar," Stenehjem said. "Using fake North Dakota state government checks is one way they try to convince their victims that this time, the offer is real."

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